CFP: Logic and Human Nature: Early Modern and Enlightenment Confluences

Submission deadline: June 1, 2023

Conference date(s):
September 15, 2023 - September 16, 2023

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Conference Venue:

ICUB-Humanities, Research Institute of the University of Bucharest, University of Bucharest
Bucharest, Romania

Topic areas


We intend this workshop to help with the preparation of contributions to a special issue of an international journal (to be specified). We aim for a first submission around November 15, 2023.

We are seeking 2-4 additional contributors to this workshop & publication project. Please send a developed abstract (ca. 1500 words) to [email protected] and [email protected] by June 1, 2023. Notifications of acceptance will be received by June 15, 2023. Inquiries can be sent to [email protected].

The theme of this project is the redescription of logic as an art for directing and correcting the work of the operations of the mind in its search for truth in several quarters of early modern and Enlightenment philosophy. This historical approach to logic has been labelled ‘logic of ideas’ or ‘facultative logic’ and various assessments have been proposed of its significance for the history of logic or for the epistemology and scientific methodology of the period. We aim to address the foundational rationale of this type of logic, signalled by the appearance of ‘self-knowledge’ or ‘the knowledge of man’ among the aims of logic. That is to say, we aim to study the confluences between logic and the investigation of human nature, be it in the form of the early modern natural history of the understanding or of the Enlightenment science of man, and understand their historical and philosophical consequences. We aim to look at works presented or received as logics / arts of thinking, or at works on the human mind / human nature that use logical frameworks.

One set of issues has to do with the articulation of logical and anthropological concerns. For example: the relation between artificial logic, natural logic and the natural history of the understanding / the science of human nature / the history of man; the problem of error and its place within a natural historical / natural logical / artificial logical project; the expansion of the set of powers of the mind understood as relevant to logic and the role of the body in this context; the crossovers with theological and medical anthropology; the pairing of logical structures with the operations of the mind responsible for their creation and validation; the consequences of this for the accounts of definition and argumentation, of demonstrative and probable reasoning, of abstraction and generalization, etc.

Another set of issues has to do with the articulation of description and normativity. For example: the way norms of good thinking were (meant to be) embedded in the experimental description of mind/man; or else, the nature of logical rules and their legitimation with reference to natural logic; the relation between logical rules and the idea of best practice in the arts and sciences; the problem of the universal or culturally embedded nature of the norms; the way the norms sometimes involve a practical project, with pedagogical consequences.

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